Study Questions for Mid-Term Exam
- What is a social problem? Why is a simple definition of social
problems difficult to develop? Briefly discuss the role of
values, power, and subjective perceptions in defining and determining
- What is sociology? Discuss sociology as
a science? What do sociologists study? How do they study it? How do
sociologists approach social problems? Why is it important to study
social problems sociologically?
- Discuss the similarities and differences between
structural-functionalist, conflict, and symbolic interactionist/social
constructionist approaches to social problems. Which approach do you
think is best and why?
- What are the major differences between quantitative and
qualitative research? Briefly discuss the major quantitative and
qualitative methods used by sociologists? Is research important in the
study of social problems? Why or why not?
- What is the role of
competition and conflict between groups with differing goals, values,
and interest in the creation and definition of social
- Identify and briefly discuss core American values.
Where do these values come from and how are they related?
What does it mean to say that values can be both complimentary
- Discuss liberalism and conservatism in
American politics. What values do conservatives tend to
emphasize? What values do liberals tend to emphasize? Which
party, Democrats or Republicans, tends to be more liberal and which
is more conservative? How do these differing political and
value orientations relate to social problems?
- What is the role
of social movements in defining social problems? Be sure to
discuss how social movements typically emerge and develop.
is claims-making? Discuss the different types of claims made by
social movements. What are counter-claims? Why is
claims-making important for social movements and the making of social
- Discuss some of the techniques used by social
movements to bring their claims to the public. What role is
played by the mass media? How does access to wealth, power, and
other resources affect a movement's efforts to have its claims heard?
the possible outcomes of a social movement. What are some of the
factors that affect the success or failure of social movements?
- What is a family? How is family viewed in our culture? Is there such a thing as THE American family? Explain your answer.
some of the diversity in family forms found historically and
cross-culturally. What does this diversity say about how we should view
family variation and family change?
are some of the most significant problems related to family, sex, and
gender in the U.S.? What should be done to address these issues?
education as social institution. Why did education emerge as an
important institution in modern industrialized democracies? How do
structural-functionalists and conflict theorists view education? Which
view do you believe is most accurate?
are the major characteristics and features of the American education
system? What are some of the issues currently facing education in
America and what should be done to address these issues?
- Define, relate, and distinguish between the following terms: (a) deviance, (b) crime, (c) norms, and (d) social control.
and relate (a) internal and external social control and (b) informal
and formal sanctions. Which of the preceding are most effective
in maintaining social control?
- How have
structural-functionalist, conflict theorists, and
interactionists/constructionist sought to explain crime and deviance?
Answer by summarizing some of theories of deviance associated
with each of these approaches.
- What can be done to reduce or
prevent crime in America? How have American politicians and policy
makers traditionally dealt with crime? Are there alternatives? What do
you think should be done to reduce or prevent crime?
- Why is drug use and abuse considered a major social problem by many Americans? What
are some of the causes of America's "drug problem?" What can or should
be done to reduce drug use and the problems associated with it?